Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Infants and Toddlers

If there is one thing that I've become really good at, it's recommending great gifts for little ones. This is the perfect time of year put my expertise to good use, and share my knowledge with you!  This guide is a list of things that any infant or toddler on your list (and their parents) will love.  You'll notice that there are a few brands I'm in love with, these are brands that I know are high quality because I've used them in classrooms, and I've seen them live through the crazy things that little ones like to do to them.

All of the links are Amazon affiliate links, but many of these items can also be purchase locally (Target and Ikea are my favorite places to shop for toys).



Hape Fantasia Blocks Train
I love Hape, Their toys are developmentally appropriate, beautiful, and made with sustainable materials.  Many of their toys can be used differently at various ages, which makes them toys that children will play with for many many years.  This set is a train, so children can make it "drive" across the floor, but it also includes blocks that can be mixed and matched to create a number of different "looks" for the train.  This is the perfect toy for building fine motor skills in young children (as they practice putting the blocks on the pegs), and visual discrimination in other children (ask them to find a block by describing the pattern on the block).  As with any toy, it does contain some small parts, so you'll want to make sure that you supervise young children who are using this toy.


B. Elemenosqueeze Blocks
My favorite thing about B. Toys are the materials and colors that they use. I really want to play with all of the toys right along with the kids.  These blocks are amazing because they are soft (so they can be thrown or dropped without worry), but they are sturdy enough to build with, so there is very little frustration associated with using them.

Melissa & Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle
Melissa & Doug Chunky Puzzles are my all-time favorite gift for very young children.  These puzzles grow with little ones because the pieces are thick enough to play with on their own - so even though the child may not be able to do the puzzle, they can still play with the pieces.


Ikea 14-piece Soft Vegetables Set
The Ikea soft food sets are my favorite play food for all ages. I love that they are aesthetically pleasing, and they come with their own cute baskets, so they can be left out and still look tidy.  None of the pieces are small enough to be chocking hazards, and they hold up well in the washing machine.  There are a number of different sets available, including; vegetables, fruits, baked goods, and salmon.


BabyLit® Board Books
Board books are always a good choice, they are durable and easy for little ones to carry around.  THe Baby Lit series is so much fun.  The titles are classics, but the content is all developmentally appropriate, for example, A Christmas Carol is all about colors, the colors are introduced using classic Christmas illustrations.


HABA Toot-Toot Rattle Clutching Toy
HABA is another brand that delivers great quality every time. I love the resurgence of wooden toys, and they could not be more beautifully made.  This rattle is so cute, and it looks like fun too.  Infants are notoriously hard to buy for because they don't play with much, and they only need so many clothes, but this is a great little gift that will definitely get used.


aden + anais Organic Muslin Swaddle Blanket
aden+anais blankets are the best.  They can be pricey, but they are big enough for children to continue using as they grow.  Many of my preschoolers use the swaddle blankets that they loved as babies now for nap blankets.  These blankets are super soft, and they come in the best designs, I would have no problem leaving them all over the house!


B. Wheeee-ls
These are my favorite cars for little ones (I actually bought them for my nephew for Christmas this year, but don't tell!).  They are chunky, which makes them easy to hold onto, and they're soft.  They have bells in the wheels, so children can hear them as they play with them, which makes for a multi-sensory experience.


Hape Walk-A-Long Croc
Pull toys are great fun for little ones who've just started walking, and who could resist this cute crocodile?! Toys like this make practicing balance and coordination a lot of fun.


HABA Soft Doll
I have soft dolls and hard plastic dolls at school, and the children gravitate towards the soft dolls.  I love these HABA dolls, they are small enough for little ones to carry around easily.  Each doll has a fun outfit and different colors and lengths of hair.  HABA also offers boy dolls and clothing sets for the dolls.

Any one of these toys would make a great gift for the infants and toddlers on your list, they are all sure to be favorites for many years to come! Make sure to check back tomorrow for my preschool gift guide, and if you're looking for ideas for the teacher in your life, I have them here!


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